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"The Big Break II" Promises Bigger Stakes, More Competition


Big Break II
The Golf Channel
Updated August 19, 2004
The stakes are higher, the golfers are better and the setting is more glamorous for the second season of "The Big Break," the golf reality series produced by The Golf Channel.

The first of 11 episodes of "The Big Break II" airs on Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. (ET) on The Golf Channel. Over the course of those 11 episodes, 10 golfers compete in skills challenges and room together on the penthouse level of the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

That's right, it's Vegas, baby! The competition wasn't the only thing that was hot during the filming of the series, which occurred in the summer with temperatures consistently over 100 degrees.

The action this year takes place at four Las Vegas golf courses: Desert Pines, Bali Hai, Royal Links and Stallion Mountain.

The first episode introduces the contestants; in following episodes, one golfer per week is eliminated until only "The Big Break II" winner is standing.

That winner gets bigger prizes in season two than the first-year winner, Justin Peters, received. For the winner of "The Big Break II," four exemptions into Nationwide Tour events await. All four of those events will be televised by The Golf Channel in 2005.

The winner also gets a 2005 Ford Five Hundred luxury sedan and $10,000 cash from Nationwide. Peters, by contrast, gained exemptions into Canadian Tour events and received the use of a luxury SUV for one year for winning the 2003 "Big Break."

Returning to cohost "Big Break II" is noted instructor Rick Smith, whose fame has only grown since the inaugural "Big Break" as a result of his work with Phil Mickelson. Smith did a great job during the 2003 series, offering pertinent commentary in an easygoing manner.

His cohost for "Big Break II" is Lesley Swanson, who has hosted a variety of programs on TBS, Home and Garden Television and The Fine Living Channel. She's also worked as a reporter on ESPN baseball telecasts, and as a producer at ESPN. Expect Swanson to be a major upgrade over Smith's cohost from the first "Big Break."

While all of the golfers from the inaugural "Big Break" could whup the vast majority of the golfers watching the show - and some, such as winner Justin Peters, were minitour veterans - many fans of that first season felt that the contestants weren't quite as skilled as expected.

That likely won't be the case during "The Big Break II," all of whose contestants carry a USGA handicap index lower than 1. Most of the 10 contestants have competed on minitours; some have competed in PGA Tour events; others have made it deep into Q-School; a couple currently caddie on the PGA Tour.

Here are the 10 contestants in "The Big Break II" (click on a name to read a brief profile of each):

Shelby Chrest, 28, a bowling alley owner from Olds, Alberta, a small Canadian town near Calgary.

Sean Daly, 23, a student and former professional baseball player from San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Don Donatello, 35, a professional golfer and caddy from Lake Mary (Orlando), Fla.

Mike Foster Jr., 36, a marketing representative from Savannah, Ga.

David Gunas Jr., 37, a sales manager and teacher from Hebron, Conn.

Calvin “Kip” Henley III, 44, a teaching pro from Crossville, Tenn.

Bart Lower, 28, a driving range owner from Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jay McNair, 29, a grade-school teacher from Brandon, Fla.

John Turk, 52, a retired Air Force fighter pilot from Melbourne, Fla.

Scott Yancy III, 23, a golf pro from Glen Carbon, Ill.

The basic format of each episode remains the same - skills challenges leading up to an elimination challenge; the last-place finisher in the elimination challenge gets the boot (or the soft-spike, in this case).

However, "The Big Break II" adds a third challenge to each episode, with all three challenges having an impact on who stays and who goes.

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